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   June 10, 2002 | 1010 IST



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1 killed, 100 hurt as Russian fans riot

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Vinay Shukla

At least one person was killed and over 100 wounded in mass rioting on Sunday night near the Kremlin following Russia's 0-1 defeat to Japan in a World Cup match.

A man was stabbed to death in his car and a policeman was hospitalised in grave condition with stab wounds.

Facades of State Duma, Moskva Hotel, historic House of Columns were damaged in the rioting as a group of youth armed with iron bars went on rampage on the central Tverskaya street (former Gorky street) damaging cars, attacking show windows of expensive boutiques and showrooms of leading western companies.

Six restaurants, including a Chinese restaurant were attacked by the mob in Moscow's posh area near the Kremlin.

According to local TV channels up to 30 cars parked on the streets were damaged and set on fire by angry youth shouting nationalist slogans in front of State Duma and other central streets near the Kremlin after Russia lost.

Moscow Police Chief Vladimir Pronin said mostly unarmed policemen were injured in the riot by drunken youth, who also overturned an ambulance van injuring its medical crew.

RTR State TV's crew had a miraculous escape when the driver managed to drive away their battered van, with smashed windows, through the mob.

Moscow city authorities, shocked by the rioting, first since 1993, have ordered the dismantling of the special TV screens erected on Manezh Square -- epicentre of rioting and other key public places in central parts of the city for live telecast of World Cup matches.

Additional police force has been deployed for the security of Japanese embassy in Moscow.

The police brought the situation under control after over 90 minutes of rioting.

Meanwhile, the prosecutor's office has launched a criminal case of mass rioting.

Interfax reported that a group of teenagers savagely beat up five Japanese students on a central Moscow intersection a few kilometres away from the Kremlin after the riot had subsided.

Before the match the Japanese embassy issued a statement advising Japanese nationals to stay at home and avoid crowds.

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